Oxford: Printed by Leon: Lichfield… for Rob: Young, & Ed. Forrest, 1640. Item #05025
First Complete English Edition of Bacon’s “De Augmentis Scientiarum”
BACON, Sir Francis. Of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning or the Partitions of Sciences IX Bookes Written in Latin by the Most Eminent Illustrious & Famous Lord Francis Bacon…Interpreted by Gilbert Wats. Oxford: Printed by Leon: Lichfield, Printer to the University, for Rob: Young, & Ed. Forrest, 1640.
First edition, second issue, with the colophon dated 1640, and with the penultimate line of the dedication on ¶2 verso without the quotation ”his spacious spirit not thus bounded…", the recto of C3 reading at foot “Fama Baconi,” and with “Marginal Corrections” on the recto of Qqq2 occupying eight lines (re-set in larger type, but without any addition to text).
Folio (11 3/16 x 7 inches; 284 x 178 mm.). , 60, , 352, 351-477, [1, blank],  pp. Engraved frontispiece portrait and engraved title by William Marshall. Engraved vignette head-piece and numerous woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials.
Contemporary sprinkled calf, covers ruled in blind. Spine with five raised bands ruled in blind, decoratively gilt in compartments, light brown morocco label lettered in gilt, gilt ruled board edges, all edges stained red. Front joint with 3 1/2 split at top but still quite sound. Some occasional spotting, light browning and faint dampstaining in several outer margins. **Armorial bookplate, maybe of Edward Bligh, Lord Clifton? on front pastedown. Early ink signature "R. Wingate" on verso of engraved portrait. Old booksellers' printed description on rear pastedown (Frank Hammond 1952 £15). A quite spectacular and totally untouched example of this great work.
“Bacon conceived a massive plan for the reorganization of scientific method and gave purposeful thought to the relation of science to public and social life. His pronouncement ‘I have taken all knowledge to by my province’ is the motto of his work…[His] ambitious proposal was: ‘a total reconstruction of sciences, arts and all human knowledge…to extend the power and dominion of the human race…over the universe’. The plan for this was to be set out in six parts” (Printing and the Mind of Man 119 (describing the 1620 Instauratio Magna or Novum Organum)).
Of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning is the first complete English edition of the first part of Bacon’s plan, “a complete survey of human knowledge and learning [which] was expounded in the De Augmentis Scientiarum, 1623 (a greatly extended version of The Advancement of Learning, 1605” (Printing and the Mind of Man).
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), 1st Viscount St Alban, Kt PC QC, also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, orator and writer who is considered one of the fathers of modern science. The scientific classification bacon sets forth in this work changed the way we look at the world, serving as a basis for Denis Diderot's renowned eighteenth-century encyclopedia of the sciences, arts and crafts. His written works continue to be extremely influential, especially regarding the philosophy and practice of the scientific method. Of the translator, Gilbert Watts, Wood says that he had so smooth a pen in Latin or English that no man of his time exceeded him" (D.N.B).
Gilbert Watts (d. 1657) “translated Bacon’s ‘De Augmentis Scientiarum,’ and his rendering called ‘Of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning, of the Partitions of Sciences’… was of highly praised on its appearance” (D.N.B.).
**Perhaps belonging to Edward Bligh, Lord Clifton. Born in 1795, he attended Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford and served as MP for Canterbury from 1818 until 1830. He was styled as Lord Clifton until 1831, when he succeeded his father as 5th Earl of Darnley. He was Lord Lieutenant of Co. Meath from 1831 until his death in 1835. The Darnley family seat of Cobham Hall in Kent was sold in 1955.
Gibson 141b; Honeyman 185 (first issue); Madan I, p. 217; STC 1167.3.